The recent decision by the chief administrators of the nation’s flagship academy, the University of Ghana, not to automatically reinstate the 13 students charged with sexually fingering an alleged female burglar about a year ago, ought to be resoundingly applauded (See “Blame AG for Dismissal of Legon ‘Fingering’ Case – Nana Oye Lithur” Ghanaweb.com 7/13/12).
The decision comes in the wake of the summary discharging of the sexual assault case by an Accra circuit court, not because of any publicly disclosed lack of forensic evidence, but merely based on the decision by government prosecutors not to proceed any further with the case.
If this observation has validity, even as renowned human rights advocate Nana Oye Lithur maintains, then it clearly appears that the “Legon 13” were not discharged purely on the strength of evidentiary dearth, or the woeful lack thereof, but merely because of the decision of some powerful personalities in government. If the latter is also the case, then one can only unreservedly concur with Nana Oye Lithur that the truth behind the summary dismissal of the same by the Accra Circuit Court, ought to be promptly investigated and made public.
What this means is that the suspects and their families ought not to prematurely allow themselves to rest easy in the false hope of their children and wards having been resolutely acquitted of all charges and/or any wrongdoing in the Amina Haruna saga. For, short of the expiration of any statute of limitations, the “Legon 13” could at anytime be re-arrested and re-arraigned before a legitimately constituted court of law to defend their criminal conduct in the Amina Haruna affair. Until then, they pretty much remain criminal suspects.
Needless to say, it is largely because of the preceding facts surrounding the case, that the chief administrators of the University of Ghana incontrovertibly reserve the right not to either readmit or reinstate any of the “Legon 13” suspects back on campus and into their courses of study. What is more, even as clearly made public, the chief administrators of the University of Ghana have both the image of that seminal institution and that of the country, at large, to protect. And unreservedly readmitting any and/or all of the “Legon 13” suspects would clearly be tantamount to defending the indefensible.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of English Nassau Community College of the State University of New York Garden City, Long Island
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